The Lost Villages

An Oral History of Miners’ Rows & Deindustrialisation in East Ayrshire, Scotland

Did you or your family live in the mining villages of Benquhat, Burnfoothill, Lethanhill, Darnconner, Commondyke and Glenbuck?

The Lost Villages is an oral history project led by researchers Prof Arthur McIvor and Dr Yvonne McFadden at the Scottish Oral History Centre. They are looking to recover the history of six lost mining communities by collecting the stories of the families who lived in the miners’ rows in the villages.

They want to tell the story from lived experience; from the memories of those who witnessed living in the miners’ rows and working in the coal mines and what it meant when the pits closed.

If you would like record your stories or get involved as a volunteer (training provided), please contact (website coming soon)

Facebook: @LostVillagesEA

Twitter :@VillagesLost

Ploughing up the Past Photo competition update

Head Judge Ken Fletcher, Editor of the Scottish Farmer said, “I really enjoyed the pics and some were a stark reminder of how hard farming is. I just hope that for your next series you hammer home the benefit of photography in preserving family farming life … and to not just have them on a mobile phone. Too many important snapshots of family life have been lost by NOT downloading the pictures and preserving them in a format that will stand the test of time.”

Black and white photo overall winner: Barmickhill Teatime in the Field (1940s) from Jennifer Kirkland– Indicative of the typical family farm, working hard but always stopping for a bite to eat together.

Jennifer Kirkland with her prize, afternoon tea from the Bakery Box Ochiltree

Colour photo overall winner: Bales at Little Creoch, New Cumnock from Jan Davidson – Farming can be lonely these days, but this just made me smile. Nairn Sloan and granddaughter Ella (the WellChild) have obviously worked together to do this. Shows the role that farming now plays in charitable work.

Jan Davidson’s father Nairn Sloan and her daughter with afternoon tea.
Kept in line – Andy McClounie, Garclaugh – nice framing of these sheep and it’s not easy to get them all looking so ‘cocky’ and that’s probably down to the dog just creeping into the pic
Andy McClounie with his steak pie from Nisbet’s of Mauchline

The runners up photos are on the project blog page. Please do look them up:

Ploughing up the Past is an Ayrshire farming heritage project, led by Cumnock History Group researching the history of farms in Cumnock, Auchinleck, New Cumnock and Ochiltree

If you want to be involved then please contact them on